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and with less vivacity. Everyone immediately perceives the resemblance of nature in the description of a tempest, a palace, or a garden; but the beauty of proper sentiments in the speeches of a prince, a general, or a counsellor, is more remote, and discerned by a kind of second thought or reflection.
As descriptions are all drawn from objects of the senses, and the likeness or unlikeness of them are easily perceived; so there is a general similitude in all true descriptions of the same objects drawn by several hands, like that in a picture of the same person done by several artists. And yet the degrees of likeness, and the different manner of expressing it, by those several artists, make a very distinguishable and entertaining variety. The famous description of a horse in the sixth book of Homer's Iliad, that in the fragment of Ennius, and that in the eleventh book of the Æneis, are indeed the same, the two latter being only copies of the first. But the description of the horse in Homer, and that in the book of Job, are very dif- . ferent, yet both are extremely natural and beautiful.
There is no particular description which the writers of heroic poetry seem to have laboured to vary so much, as that of the morning. This is a topic on which they have drawn out all the copiousness, and even the luxury,of their fancies. The chastest and most correct writers seem to indulge themselves on this occasion in a greater sport of imagination, and I had almost said extravagance, than on any other subject whatever; as if it were a trial of skill among them, who should paint the morning the most beautifully. I once amused myself with drawing together out of the best poets a variety of these descriptions, which methought appeared like so many fine skies differently coloured, and interspersed with clouds, by the best masters in landscape. And I imagine it will not be an unacceptable entertainment to the reader, if I here present him with some few out of this collection of morning pieces.
The morning is most frequently figured as a goddess or divine person, flying in the air, unbarring the gates of light, and opening the day. She is drawn by Homer in a saffron garment, and with rosy hands, (which is the epithet he almost constantly bestows on her,) sprinkling light through the earth. She arises out of the waves of the sea, leaves the bed of Tithon her lover, ascends the heavens, appears to gods and to men, and gives notice of the sun-rising. She is placed, by this father of the poets, sometimes on a throne of gold; now in a chariot drawn by swift horses, and bearing along with her the day; and at other times she is ushered in by the star which is her harbinger, and which gives the signal of the morning's approach.
On this, as a ground, the poets following Homer have run their divisions of fancy: this will appear by the following instances out of Virgil, which I shall present to the reader in Mr. Dryden's translation :
Aurora now had left her saffron bed,
The Morn ensuing from the mountain's height
I have not room here to multiply examples out of the ancient poets, but shall shew how the same images have been copied or diversified by the moderns. The following description is Tasso's, as it is very closely traced in the old translation of Mr. Fairfax:
The purple Morning left her crimson bed,
And our own Spenser, who excels in all kinds of imagery, following the same originals, represents the morning after the like manner :
Now when the rosy-fingered Morning fair,
Weary of aged Tithon's saffron bed,
And the high hills Titan discovered;
The royal virgin shook off drowsy-head,
The Day, forth dawning from the east,
Commanded them their daily works renew.
But of all descriptions of the Morning as a person, it is impossible to find a more beautiful one than that of Shakspeare:
Look where the Morn, in russet mantle clad,
The same author has in another place embellished his subject thus :
Look what streaks
The two following descriptions likewise, by the same hand, are very poetical:
The glow-worm shews the Matin to be near,
The wolves have prey'd; and look, the gentle Day
In Milton's Paradise Lost, the descriptions of the Morning are drawn with exquisite beauty: yet some of them retain (though in a Christian poem) a mixture of the same mythology:
Now Morn her rosy steps in th' eastern clime
· And now went forth the Morn,